What is the sound of canon fire?
Most spelling errors are simply annoying, but some are quite amusing or even intellectually interesting. I ran across this one today in The New York Times of all places:
... machine gun and canon fire reverberated through the streets.
I am sure they meant cannon fire since canon refers to religious doctrine. Although, I suppose, a very heated discussion of religious doctine, especially in Iraq, could "reverberate" through the streets. Protesters were allegedly burning tires, so I suppose that could have been burning religious books as well to create "canon fires", but fires don't usually "reverberate."
Incidentally, even Google does not offer a spelling suggestion when searching for "canon fire", possibly since there are 18,500 hits for "canon fire" and it is so common a mispelling. But, Yahoo does offer the suggested correction!
More interesting is that a minority of the media that picked up the story from The Times actually corrected it. For example, from International Herald Tribune we read:
... machine-gun and cannon fire reverberated through the streets.
And, IHT even properly hypenated machine-gun.
Well, I guess even editors at The New York Times can sometimes have a bad day.